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OBITUARY: From Police To Politics, Alao Akala, The ‘Spare Tyre’ Deputy Governor Who Governed Oyo


In the early hours of Wednesday January 12, residents of Oyo State woke up to the shocking report that former Oyo State Governor, Otunba Christopher Alao Akala has embarked on a journey of no return.

Akala’s demise came as a surprise to not only residents of the state, but people in different parts of the country.

In this report, OYOINSIGHT takes a deep dive into Akala’s rise from a controversial police officer to a force to reckon with in the poltical scene in Oyo State.

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Policing and policy-making are two essential component of any society because they both play an irreplaceable role in the existence of an organized political community.

Only few Nigerians can boast of a successful career in both spheres. One of these individuals is the late Alao Akala.

From Barracks School To Cadet Inspector

Born on the 3rd of June 1950, at Ogbomoso, Alao Akala had his elementary school at Osupa Baptist Day School, Ogbomoso. He proceeded to the Kamina Barracks Middle School, 5th Battalion of Infantry Tamale, Ghana.

At the age of 24 in June 1974, He was enlisted as a Cadet Inspector of Police at the Nigeria Police College, Ikeja.

As an officer of the Nigerian Police Force, He was recommended for overseas training at the Metropolitan Police Training School, Peel Centre, Hendon, London. He also attended the Administrative Staff College, Topo, Badagry; the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA),Victoria Island, Lagos; Police Staff College, Jos; Command and Staff College, Jaji.

An Officer Who Rose Through The Ranks

As a Police Officer, He rose through the ranks; From the position of Station Officer in the Nigeria Police, he became Administrative Officer, Federal Operations at the Force Headquarters, Lagos. He later rose to the position of Operations Officer, FEDOPS, Lagos.

He also held several command positions in the Police Force. He was O/C Advanced Training Wing, Police College, Ikeja; Divisional Police Officer, Bode Thomas, Lagos; Divisional Police Officer, Iponri Police Station, Lagos; Railway Divisional Police Officer, Nigeria Railways, Ebutte Meta, Lagos; Area Commander, Western District, Nigeria Railway Police, Ibadan; CSP Admin. Gongola State Command, Yola; CSP Admin. Kwara State Command, Ilorin; Assistant Commissioner of Police, Agodi Area Command, Ibadan, Oyo State Police Command, Ibadan.

From Police To Politics

In September 1995, he retired from the Nigeria Police as Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Logistics and Supply, Oyo State Police Command, Eleyele, Ibadan.

Less than twelve months later, Alao Akala entered the murky water of politics. He started his political career as a member of the New Dimension. He participated in the zero-party local government election of 1996 and later co-founded the UNP before its fusion with UNC to form UNCP.

He participated in the Ogbomoso Federal Constituency (One) primary election of the UNCP in 1997. He contested and won the chairmanship seat of the Ogbomoso North Local Government along with seven councillors under the platform of APP in 1998. He was elected vice-chairman of ALGON, Oyo State Chapter between 1999 and 2002. Alao-Akala founded the Ogbomoso Unity Forum, a political association which later joined the PDP. He was the Chairman of Ogbomoso North Local Government from 1999 to 2002.

From ‘Spare Tyre’ Deputy Governor…

In the build up to the 2003 Gubernatorial election in Oyo State, Alao Akala was announced as the running mate to Senator Rashidi Ladoja in an election they won under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Akala’s first stint as Deputy Governor — Which he later described as worse than a spare tyre because he only go to work to read newspapers — came to a controversial end in January 2006.

… To Governor — Thanks To An ‘Absolutely Faulty’ Hotel Impeachment

Few months into the administration, Akala’s principal, Governor Rashidi Ladoja fell out with the (now late) Godfather of Oyo politics, Alhaji Lamidi Ariyibi Adedibu.

In January 2006, Governor Ladoja was impeached in a way the appeal court later described as ‘absolutely faulty’.

Among the eight faulty processes were: the sitting of the legislators in an hotel rather than the State House of Assembly to deliberate on the impeachment; sending the notice of impeachment through the newspapers; impeachment carried out by 18 rather than 22 legislators; unavailability of affidavit of suspension; the time-frame of the process; and the declaration of lack of jurisdiction by the High Court, thereby declaring the process null and void.

Even though many people including Governor Ladoja have alleged that Alao Akala was part of those who schemed the impeachment, the Ogbomosho-born politician denied this.

In a recent interview, he said, “People don’t know what happened that time. I have tried to explain it in my memoir which, by the grace of God, will soon come out. For those who executed the plan to remove my boss, if they were to have their way and if not for constitutional barrier, I wouldn’t have been their candidate for the governorship position.

“But there was no way they could breach that constitutional provision, and there was no way they could remove both of us at the same time because I was not doing anything.”

The truthfulness of Akala’s claim has, however, been debated by many, for various reasons most especially the fact that Akala, immediately after the impeachment of his principal, went to the Molete political home of Adedibu, the Godfather who never denied to have played a godly role in the impeachment.

Similarly, the fact that Akala also appointed Hazeem Gbolarumi, the Personal Assistant to Adedibu who, in a May 13, 2017 interview with The SUN, revealed that he chaired the taskforce charged with the responsibility to carry out the ‘operation’ of impeaching Ladoja — despite not being a lawmaker — did little to give credence to his claim.

The ‘ATM Governor’

After the court faulted the impeachment of Rashidi Ladoja, Akala returned to his office as the Deputy Governor of the state but this will last for only a short while.

The intra-party crisis that led to the impeachment of Ladoja was still ongoing when the party held its primaries ahead of the 2007 governorship election in the state, unsurprisingly, the machinery of the party backed Akala to become the flag bearer of the party ahead of his principal.

On the 15th of April 2007, after polling 357,972 out of the 855,264 votes casted in Oyo State, Alao Akala was declared winner of the third gubernatorial poll in the state since the return to democracy in 1999.

Akala’s administration was popular, for among many other things, the buoyant (irrational?) way the Governor spent money.

For this reason, He was nicknamed ATM by the people of the state, a name he announced in a 2018 interview he love being called.

However, Akala, despite being called an ‘Oyato’ governor did not make the difference required to win his second term bid in, arguably, the most keenly contested guber election in the state in 2011.

Unsuccessful Attempts To Return To Agodi

Since his constitutional sack from Agodi by the ‘Constituted Authority’, Abiola Ajimobi, in 2011, Akala has contested and lost every single guber election in the state.

His first attempt was in the five horse guber election of 2015; During this election, He flyed the flag of the Labour Party in the state but his labour at the campaigns could only earn him a third position.

His second attempt, was an electoral bid that died before the elections. He launched this bid under the platform of the All Progressives Congrss, APC, before moving to the Action Democratic Party, ADP, when it became certain he won’t get the ticket.

At the ADP, he got the ticket to fly the party’s flag on a platter of gold but he brought down the flag few days to the election to support Adebayo Adelabu of APC — the party he left just few months back.

Eventually, Adedibu, the man Akala supported did not only lose that election, he came second with the widest gap between the top two contestants in a guber election in the state.

A Controversial Memoir At 70?

In an interview ahead of his 70th birthday celebration, Akala announced that he will launch his memoir soon.

This memoir, according to him, will correct a lot of things people don’t know about him.

However, some part of the book, which he revealed in various interviews, has attracted controversy in the political circle in the state.

One of the issues he claimed he addressed in the memoir was how he was treated worse than a spare tyre while he was the deputy governor to Rashidi Ladoja.

In a reaction to this, Ladoja’s media aide, Lanre Latinwo described it as “utterly untrue, mischievous and misleading.”

Latinwo also wondered why at 70, Akala is “trying to rewrite history by telling what can be best described as white lies”.

Oyo APC Leader?

Until his death, Akala was in the centre of the leadership tussle in the All Progressive Congress in Oyo State. The party, following its abysmal performance in the 2019 General elections, had commenced a reconciliation process to position it to take over control of the Agodi government House in the state.

However, at the centre of this reconciliation process is the question of whether Akala, who the national leadership of the party already named as the chairman of its Elders Advisory Council, is the party’s leader in the state.

As the only former governor in the party, Akala’s position as the party’s leader might seem like a right choice but his well documented history of political party pilgrimage was the strongest argument against his recognition. “He is not a true progressive,” some argued.

The former governor was in the middle of the party crisis when he joined his ancestors on Wednesday, January 12.

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